Crews Prepare Site, Eastern Shore Centre Comes to Life in Spanish Fort

Wed January 21, 2004 - Southeast Edition
Beverly B. Nichols

Crews are clearing land for the Eastern Shore Centre, a multi-million dollar “retail lifestyle complex,” located on Highway 181 in Spanish Fort, AL.

Bay Minette, AL-based TEMCO Inc. is preparing the site for the 462,000-sq.-ft. (42,900 sq m) center. The company is in charge of clearing the area, unclassified excavation and grading, storm drainage, erosion control, curb and gutter preparation, paving and site utilities.

“So far, our major challenges have included handling storm drainage throughout the site and selecting different site cut areas to match required fill material specifications,” said TEMCO owner, Walter Jenks.

As of December, crews had moved 1.1 million cu. yds. (841,000 cu m) of dirt. The job will require 28,000 tons (25,401 t) of asphalt and 65,000 linear ft. (19.8 linear m) of curb.

On site, the company’s equipment includes both Cat and John Deere dozers; Samsung, Cat and Hitachi excavators; John Deere and Case tractor pans; a John Deere rubber tire hoe; Ingersoll Rand vibrator compactors; Komatsu motor graders; and John Deere loaders.

Designed by the Crawford, McWilliams and Hatcher Firm, of Birmingham, AL, the center is already 65 percent leased. Crews will begin constructing a 275,000-sq.-ft. “big box” retail center, adjacent to lifestyle center, in April.

The project developers are the M.C. Herring Group, Dallas, TX; Stephens Property Group, Atlanta, GA; Trotman Company, Montgomery, AL; and Foshee Realty Co., Mobile, AL. John Jenks, son of Walter, is supervising the site preparation.

Local subcontractor Fairhope Paving Co. is completing the utility work and H.O. Weaver is doing Alabama Department of Transportation work as well as asphalt.

As site work progresses, crews have begun to raise the buildings.

Ellis Steel, based in West Point, MI, is working alongside Ogden Construction of Mobile on the center’s steel work, which has just barely begun, said Jim Ogden, of Ellis Steel.

“We have a rented 50-ton Link-Belt crane there ready to start,” he noted.

To fund the project, the Spanish Fort city council annexed the land, which was adjacent to the city’s boundaries, and also rezoned it to a general business area from a residential.

Mayor Greg Kuhlman said the city is planning to spend $12 million for a new road, sewers and other related construction costs. To stay within the city’s borrowing limit, the council is working on creating a cooperative improvement district to issue bonds –– $6 million worth from both the city and the district. The proposed bonds will be financed by a special 1-percent sales tax on the stores in the center.

Although the city council has not voted on the plan, Kuhlman said that it’s an “exciting prospect” and expected it to be passed soon.